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The Freedom Classic rivalry renewed

Posted at 12:12 AM, Jan 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-19 00:12:03-05

Richmond, VA – Over the years, the Freedom Classic Festival  has been one of the more highly anticipated events in the area.  The event pays homage to the life and legacy of the late Dr. Martin Luther King.  And every year spotlights one of the fiercest rivalries in the state, VUU and VSU.

“I think it’s high,” said Virginia Union Head Coach Jay Butler, who also played in this event with the Panthers.  “I’ve been here [VUU] and we’ve been competing for the Division Title every year.”

“The intensity is extremely high,” stated Virginia State Head Coach Lonnie Blow Jr. “Especially with them beating us last year in the CIAA tournament and a week later beating them in the NCAA tournament.”

The rivalry between VUU and VSU was at an all-time high last season as they met four times, including the first ever meeting in the NCAA tournament, won by Virginia State.  Saturday’s meeting will be the fifth time since last January that the Panthers and Trojans will meet on the basketball court.

“It comes down to execution,” Blow explained.  “There’s no secrets.  We know each other’s tendencies, each other’s teams very well.”

“We know each other,” Butler added.  “We got a few guys back from last year.  They got a good group that’s returning and I definitely think it’s going to be a good game.

This year for the first time, the Freedom Classic Festival will be held at VSU’s Multipurpose Center and will also have Virginia State and Virginia Union women play as well.  The women’s game will be at 6, the men will play at 8.